SOME STATE PARKS WILL TRANSITION TO FIVE DAY SCHEDULES

Some State Parks Will Close Part Of The Week



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Catalina State Park.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

AZBW Publishers Note
Have you noticed how our language is changing? For example, problems are now issues. Issue sounds much less severe than problem, but it doesn't change the fact that it is still a problem.

In this press release the term "transition" is used instead of "close". The fact remains that they are closing some of our state parks. State parks that "we the people" have paid for over the years and have a right to expect to be able to use. Has it been mismanagement of public funds that has created these budget "shortfalls"? If so, by whom?

Yuma Territorial Prison.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

ARIZONA STATE PARKS
For Immediate Release
Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partnerships. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ellen Bilbrey at (602) 542-1996 or (602) 228-8518, or email pio at azstateparks.gov

(Phoenix, AZ - April 10, 2009) - The Arizona State Parks board meeting on Friday, April 3rd, resulted in operational changes for some parks in the Arizona State Parks system.

Fort Verde.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

At this meeting, the seven-member volunteer Parks Board passed a motion to allow the agency to reduce the days and hours of operation for the parks. This will ease the stress of trying to keep parks open seven days a week while dealing with a 26% reduction in ranger staff. Some of the consequences to a $34.5M sweep in funds from various conservation-funded accounts and agency gate fees, include: suspending community grants, reduced park hours/days of operation, reduced supply purchasing, less vehicles, layoffs and canceling special projects and programs statewide.

Oracle State Park.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

"In order to keep the parks as accessible to the public as possible with this reduction in force, we will begin shortening weeks starting April 14-15 in Yuma," said Jay Ream, Assistant Director. "Both Yuma Territorial Prison and Yuma Quartermaster Depot will be open Thursday through Monday and closed Tuesday and Wednesdays with daily hours of 9am-5pm."

Toumbstone Courthouse.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

"Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park will have the same Thursday-Monday schedule with April 21-22 being the first days closed. Fort Verde State Historic Park will switch to this schedule starting on May 5-6. Oracle State Park will begin its Thursday-Monday schedule starting on May 9-10. All of the daily park hours will be 9am-5pm."

Tubac_Presidio.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

"We have already lost much of the workforce and I need to move the experienced rangers to the parks that need the help right away," said Ream. "The danger we are facing is losing some of our experienced and highly trained rangers who would be almost impossible to replace. Unlike one skill other organizations would hire for, the State Parks are required to be run by people with a multitude of high level skills. These hybrid job descriptions include trained and certified as law enforcement officers, emergency medical training, wildland firefighters, crowd control, search and rescue, interpretation, natural resources, water & wastewater treatment certification, all of the skills in construction and maintenance, trail construction, research, and artifact management. These rangers must also have specific training for dangerous situations in wild country. These are not easy people to replace. They are the best of the best in these fields and highly recruited because of their multiple talents. Some of our "super rangers" are actually trained and skilled in every category I've mentioned," said Ream. "They are committed to State Parks despite demanding training requirements and relatively low pay."

Yuma Quarter Master Depot.jpgPhoto Credit: Arizona State Parks

For more information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174 or,outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free 800-285-3703, or visit azstateparks.com.


 

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